Probiotics... Lots of people have heard of them. Many make sure to include them in their daily diets. But what are they exactly? And what do they do? It’s a good idea to talk with your own doctor about probiotics. But, let’s take a look at some of the information that's out there about probiotics.
Probiotics are actually pretty interesting… some might say amazing. They are strains of live microorganisms. Yes, live. Bacteria, actually. These living organisms are found in yogurt and other cultured foods. They're also available as dietary supplements.
The interesting thing about probiotics is that they are widely considered to be beneficial to the human body. We think of bacteria as harmful and that is true, but good bacteria exist in our bodies. And good bacteria help keep us healthy.
The good bacteria in our bodies should outnumber the bad, but sometimes the numbers are thrown off. For some people, ingesting probiotics has the potential to provide a beneficial health effect by helping to balance the bacterial environment in the body.
Many studies have been done on probiotics. Although there isn’t a lot of absolutely conclusive data on the subject at present, there is some evidence supporting the benefits of probiotics. Most studies have shown that probiotics are not dangerous… whether or not they truly help promote health and well-being.
People through history have used sour milk to treat illness. They may have done so because of the positive impact probiotics can sometimes have on certain illnesses. In some cases, the probiotics in the sour milk may have had an impact on the harmful bacteria causing an illness.
Many people today firmly believe probiotics taken on a regular basis help support the immune system and improve digestion. Lots of folks find that taking probiotics helps the digestive tract recover from an upset like a sour stomach, gas, or diarrhea. Many doctors recommend taking probiotics to their patients who are taking an antibiotic, because antibiotics kill good bacteria as well as harmful bacteria and probiotics can help offset that imbalance.
So… should we all be taking probiotics? Well, there isn’t a definitive, one-fits-all answer. It is a decision that should be made on an individual basis and best arrived at after a discussion between people and their physicians.
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